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East Timor Holds Presidential Runoff Election


Residents line up to vote during the second round of the presidential election in Dili, East Timor, April 19, 2022.

Voting took place in East Timor Tuesday in the presidential runoff election.

The runoff was a contest between two former independence fighters: incumbent President Francisco “Lu Olo” Guterres and challenger Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace laureate and former president. Ramos-Horta won more than 46% of the vote in last month’s first round of voting, but failed to win the necessary 50-percent-plus-one needed to avoid the runoff. President Guterres only won 22.1% of the vote.

East Timor has been mired by years of political and economic instability since gaining its independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a quarter-century of brutal occupation. The latest crisis stems from Guterres’s refusal to swear in several Cabinet ministers from the National Congress of the Reconstruction of Timor Leste party, better known by its acronym CNRT.

Former President Xanana Gusmao, the head of the CNRT, has endorsed Ramos-Horta.

The first results of the runoff election will be announced either late Tuesday or Wednesday. The winner will be sworn in on May 20, the 20th anniversary of East Timor’s independence.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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